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Biden Slides in Iowa

Meanwhile, Iowa Political Power Poll shows Warren and Harris surging

Iowa Political Power  |  July 12, 2019 11:00am  |  By James Q. Lynch

Biden Slides in Iowa article image

Iowa political insiders still think former Vice President Joe Biden is the odds-on favorite to win the state’s 2020 presidential caucuses, but expectations for Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have surged following their performances in national debates and impressive fundraising.

Forty-one percent of insiders responding to the Iowa Political Power Poll said they expect—but not necessarily favor—Biden to win the first-in-the-nation caucuses Feb. 3, 2020.

However, the lackluster debate performance by Biden combined with strong showings by Warren and Harris seem to have changed some minds. The percentage of those surveyed by the Iowa Power Poll who predicted a Biden win dropped by 7 percentage points between June and July.

At the same time, the percentage predicting a first-place finish by Massachusetts Sen. Warren win jumped 7 percentage points to 21 percent since the inaugural Iowa Power Poll in June. Along with her performance in the first Democratic National Committee debate, Warren is seen by Power Poll members as having the strongest campaign ground game by 37 percent of the insiders, up from 22 percent in June.

Warren also raised $19.1 million in the second quarter, more than all but South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Biden.

On the other hand, Harris’ gain from 2 percent who thought she would win the caucuses a month ago to 13 percent today seems more likely to be based on directly challenging Biden in the debate because only 3 percent of those responding to the Iowa Power Poll said she has the best on-the-ground campaign organization.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who in the 2016 Iowa caucus came within less than a percentage point of defeating eventual nominee Hillary Clinton, now is seen as likely to win the Iowa caucuses by only 4 percent—half as many as were predicting he would win in June.

Those predicting a caucus victory for New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker fell from 4 percent to 1 percent and from 5 percent to 2 percent for Buttigieg.

The Iowa Power Poll is not a scientific poll. It is, instead, a fascinating glimpse into what Iowa’s political leadership class thinks about the 2020 Democratic caucus. The Iowa Political Power Poll member list is composed of 1,671 party activists, important media figures, political consultants and elected officials at the city, county, state and federal levels. It includes both Republicans and Democrats. A total of 209 individuals responded this week to this survey. Plans are to survey once a month until the caucuses are held.

The political insiders also were asked who will finish second and third in the caucuses. Harris topped the field with 24 percent of insiders naming her as the runner-up. Warren was right behind her at 22 percent, followed Biden and Sanders at 15 and 13 percent, respectively.

Eighteen percent see Sanders as the third-place finisher. He’s followed by Warren at 15 percent, Harris at 14 and Biden and Buttigieg each at 11.

In addition to the gains for Warren and Harris, fewer insiders responded “don’t know” to this survey. When asked who would finish first, second, and third, the percentage answering “don’t know” dropped by 2, 5 and 7 percentage points, respectively.

Here are the complete results to the survey for each candidate who received 1% or more of the votes:




Question #1: The Iowa caucuses will be held Feb. 3. Looking into your crystal ball, who do you think will place first among the Democrats?


Joe Biden -- 41%

Cory Booker -- 1%

Pete Buttigieg -- 2%

John Delaney -- 1%

Tulsi Gabbard -- 1%

Kamala Harris -- 13%

Beto O'Rourke -- 1%

Bernie Sanders -- 4%

Elizabeth Warren -- 21%

Don't Know -- 13%


Question #2: Who will place second?

Joe Biden -- 15%

Cory Booker -- 2%

Pete Buttigieg -- 5%

Tulsi Gabbard -- 1%

Kamala Harris -- 24%

Amy Klobuchar -- 3%

Beto O'Rourke -- 1%

Bernie Sanders -- 13%

Elizabeth Warren -- 22%

Marianne Williamson -- 1%

Don't Know -- 11%


Question #3: Who will place third?

Joe Biden -- 11%

Cory Booker -- 5%

Steve Bullock -- 2%

Pete Buttigieg -- 11%

Julian Castro -- 1%

John Delaney -- 1%

Tulsi Gabbard -- 1%

Kamala Harris -- 14%

Amy Klobuchar -- 3%

Beto O'Rourke -- 2%

Bernie Sanders -- 18%

Elizabeth Warren -- 15%

Don't Know -- 14%


Question #4: Which candidate has the best on-the-ground campaign organization?

Joe Biden -- 7%

Cory Booker -- 9%

Pete Buttigieg -- 3%

John Delaney -- 3%

Kamala Harris -- 3%

Amy Klobuchar -- 1%

Beto O'Rourke -- 1%

Bernie Sanders -- 15%

Elizabeth Warren -- 37%

Don't Know -- 19%


Number Surveyed: 1,671

Number Responded: 209

Response Rate: 12.51%